By Len Augsburger – Newman Numismatic Portal ……
Like most of the country, the Newman Numismatic Portal has transitioned to “all remote” status, with Newman Portal staff now completely working from home. Scanning operations are on hold, as our multiple scanning centers (Washington University in St. Louis, the American Numismatic Society in New York, and various National Archives locations) are all closed for non-essential operations. However, site additions and updates remain healthy, with a variety of new content being added electronically.
While the current circumstances are grim in human and economic terms, the concept of making information broadly available electronically remains our defining rationale.
In the meantime, we continue to accept electronic contributions, which may be directed to Len Augsburger at [email protected]. Recent contributors include Q. David Bowers, David Lisot, and Lianna Spurrier. You might have old photographs to share or works you have published and wish to make available on Newman Portal. Much of our collection has been built electronically since the public launch of the site in 2016, and this trend will continue.
One recent electronic addition is the Official Register of the United States, built from public domain sources and incorporated into NNP. This resource, published serially from 1816-1959, provides lists of United States Mint and Bureau of Engraving and Printing employees found nowhere else in consolidated form.
We encourage publishers to consider Newman Portal as a potential outlet. We’ve already heard from one coin club that has committed to making their next print issue freely available online as a response to the COVID-19 epidemic. We encourage other organizations to do likewise.
National Archive additions will continue at least through May, as our primary contributors (Roger Burdette and Nicole Fry) work through their backlog. Nicole Fry has been processing the U.S. Mint general correspondence series (National Archives record group 104, entry 1), with 185 of 203 volumes in this group currently completed. Along with contributions from R.W. Julian, Newman Portal has now scanned over 100,000 pages from this key National Archives series.
Internally, we’ve launched a historic newspapers project that extracts and transcribes numismatic articles from U.S. newspapers and journals, primarily from the 18th and 19th centuries. Although not yet posted on the site, this database is growing daily and remains the primary focus of NNP staff member Kelli West at Washington University in St. Louis. If you have old articles at hand, or even just citations, feel free to submit them.
At the American Numismatic Society (ANS), Lara Jacobs has been working through the business correspondence of Philadelphia dealers S. H. & H. Chapman, c. 1880-1935. This numbers thousands of letters and cards, which are processed through the letter “R”. Although this work is on hold, we anticipate a rapid conclusion to this project when the ANS reopens.
We encourage everyone in the numismatic community to continue to follow national directives to help fight this epidemic. Many coin clubs have moved to virtual gatherings, with good success reported. We look forward to seeing everyone in person again, but, in the meantime, feel free to explore, utilize, and contribute to Newman Portal. As always, inquiries may be directed to me at [email protected].
Project Coordinator, Newman Numismatic Portal
Washington University in St. Louis